Thursday, February 9, 2012

The (Slightly Embarrassing) Secret to My Heart

I’ve had a lot on my plate lately. You can tell by the frequency of my blog posts; intense procrastination indicates a heavy workload. Last night I had a dream in which I’d forgotten to prepare for the Fulbright seminar and, instead of presenting my work over the past few months, read the Fulbrighters a children’s book. Which they listened to with surprising eagerness. I think it was my subconscious hinting that I ought to get moving on preparing my presentation. Still, it will be difficult. How to distill the past six months into a ten-minute-long fascinating session? I refuse to bore! Maybe I should just stick with Harold and the Purple Crayon...
I took this picture in Ohio-- the South doesn't have all the crazy

Today Randall Stephens, one of this year’s Fulbright roving scholars, came into Bergen and gave a lecture to the Katten teachers on “The Praying South.” I probably enjoyed it more than anyone. If he’d given that lecture in Maryland or Ohio, I would have felt like a Northerner. But in this group, I felt like an American. Proud of it, babe! Also, I learned a lot: apparently Arkansas does count as part of the South. Randall really rocked it—he had us all laughing and eagerly interested.

Afterwards we chilled in the teacher’s lounge with skillingsboller from Godt Brød (not only does Anita know that that’s the only bakery I can eat from, but her son also happens to work there—score!) and discussed American weirdness, Norway, American weirdness, airport security, American weirdness, the Beatles, American weirdness… I think telling Anita about the kids screaming “USA” and breaking beer bottles in Amherst this past weekend counts as cultural exchange.

Nothing like fresh Bergensk skillingsboller
Something has been niggling at me for months. It’s actually less of a secret than a fact I have in common with every single woman on the planet. We all have some weird thing we like about guys, some totally innocuous detail that melts our hearts and makes us go weak at the knees. For me, it’s always been guys who say my name with an accent. Not American twang, but Israeli purred or Canadian soft or Spanish sultry. Anyhow, the problem is that here at Fantoft, every single guy has an accent. So they inflect my name with their nationality’s habit when they meet me, and all of a sudden I’m drifting off on an effluvium of romance. It’s rather inconvenient to swoon so constantly. You’d think I’d become inured, but it’s been six months and I’m nowhere near. Nobody here has the trouble with “chet” that most Americans experience. Even when Americans get the right degree of phlegm into it, they usually choke up by hardening the “ah” syllables. This is one thing I’m going to miss: falling in love, instantly, repeatedly, multiple times a day, as Europeans ask for my attention or perform the rites of introduction or call to me on the street.

I received the Fulbright waiver I need to sign for our ski weekend, and was amused to find, among all the technical legal language about assuming full responsibility for risks, something about releasing the Fulbright Foundation from liability “caused by acts of God or by situations beyond the control of US-Norway Fulbright.” Who ever adds God into this kind of document? The second condition seems a bit redundant. Maybe it’s to cover damage to atheists. 

1 comment:

  1. So fascinating to read about your passionate life and independent thoughts:) Salsa lessons sounds like a challenge (I never could move in a way that even approaches stylish or elegant) but a fun one, and I can't wait to hear how skiing goes next weekend! Good job managing to put your hatred towards Faulkner aside, I totally agree with you when it comes to the way he describes women, so I can understand how hard it must have been. Best of luck with all the stuff you have to do, and lets try to make our hiking trip some time.